COUNTY — The Cochise College mens and womens basketball teams kicked off the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference basketball season Tuesday losing to Arizona Western College in Yuma.
The Apache men were defeated 59-55 while the women lost 79-68.
The women’s game was the inauguration game for Misty Opat, the new head coach at Cochise.
Cochise trailed Western 21-19 at the end of the first quarter before suffering a scoring drought in the second that allowed Western to go on an 18-8 run taking a 39-27 lead at the intermission.
The Apaches battled the Matadors in the second half outscoring them 41-40, but the second quarter drought proved to be the difference in the 11-point loss.
“I felt like our youth got exposed today. We will continue to work hard in practice and get better,” Opat said after the game. “I thought Iyana Jenkins and India Perry both had a good half each, but they have to learn to put together a full game.”
Perry led the Cochise women in scoring with 15 points; Jenkins followed with 14 points and 14 rebounds, recording a double-double.
In the men’s game that followed Cochise trailed 33-22 at halftime but fought back to cut the lead to three points with under a minute left in the game. The Apaches made an untimely foul on a contested three-point shot late on the clock, which made it very tough to surge ahead in the final moments.
Freshman Stephen Byard led the Apaches scoring 20 points while pulling down seven rebounds. Sophomore guard Jalun Trent followed with 11 points and six steals while fellow sophomore Patrick Samoura had eight points and a game-high 17 rebounds.
“I could not have been more proud of our effort tonight, especially on the defensive end of the floor. Trent came off the bench and competed so hard—it was fun to watch his energy,” coach Jerry Carrillo said after the game. “Samoura did a great job on the glass; 17 rebounds is a great game. We struggle to score the ball and need to be in better physical condition to have more ball movement. We will keep working and honoring the process.”
Up next for Cochise is a home game with Central Arizona College in the Stronghold gymnasium on the Douglas Campus. The women will play at 2 p.m. followed by the men at 4.
No spectators are permitted at the game. Home games are streamed live on the Cochise College YouTube channel.